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THE QUESTIONS OF THE stamped the mark of finite knowledge, PRESENT AGE,
and as a consequence, of limited inCONSIDERED IN THEIR RELATION TO fluence and operation. DIVINE TRUTH.
The same system of government, NO. II.
legislative and executive, which is THE CHRISTIAN'S MISSION.
the glory of England, has proved In surveying the mental history of ruinous to other nations ; and the the world, and the various plans that most flourishing system at last have been the fruit of the gigantic perishes because it is unable to adapt and starry intellects which have itself to the progress of mind. Upon laboured for a brief space, there is its ruins is built another system more one source of melancholy, yet in- adapted to the wants of human nastructive contemplation, which is, ture. Such is, and must ever be, the the nature and duration of the sys- history of all human systems, and tems originated. There have been such always will be the fate of their those who have promulgated systems originators. behind their age—these have been But it is the characteristic of the the subject of ridicule and contempt. Christian System, that it is adapted There have been others who have to all time, to every nation, and to organized systems adapted to the ex- every clime. The most depraved act wants of the age and these are may be raised by its power to the they who are the truest benefactors of dignity of personal holiness; and the mankind, and whose names are engra- purest and most intellectual feel its ven most deeply on the tablet of Fame. influence chastening and subduing These are they who are “wise in their every foible, till, when it has performown generation;" who from a profounded its perfect work, it renders them knowledge of human nature, and the but“ a little lower than the angels.” circumstances and wants of the age, Such being its effect on individuals, form a corresponding plan. Where they its effect on nations is still more aphave acted according to the knowledge parent. A nation is happy or misethey possessed, and the opportunities rable in proportion as its government the times afforded, we can gratefully and morals conform to the spirit of render them all due honor. But divine law. Our national grandeur there is another class of men and has been ascribed to our industry, they are the noblest and the purest energy, bravery, and so forth ; but it
-who have founded their systems is a mistake of effect for cause. Our upon principles of morals, and upon industry, energy, and bravery, concircumstances which ought to exist, stitute our national grandeur ;-the rather than upon the circumstances cause lies in the greater admixture of which do exist ; and, though conse- divine law with our government and quently gaining esteem from the more morals, and that grandeur can only noble-minded members of society, be maintained by a continued and instill meet with the sneers and indiffe- creased adoption of divine law. If rence of the ignorant, and the perse- any one be unconvinced, let him becution of the depraved. Their fate | hold the nations under the sway of is much to be deplored : they are Roman Catholicism and idolatry, and earnest and lofty souls, struggling he will behold industry, energy, and ardently for truth, and it is not until bravery withering away, and the peotheir valiant hearts lie cold in death ples themselves degraded and enslaved that mankind appreciate their thoughts both in body and in soul. Every and designs, and Fame, too late, system requires agents by whom its brings her wreath to decorate their principles are to be presented to the tombs. But on all the systems is human mind ; and the Christian
System, as the moral universe is the heralds its fair presence, the peaceful sphere in which its influence is to be virtues that attend its path, and the exerted requires human agents like- long blaze of glory that lingers in its wise, and it is a solemn and weighty train—this is the Christian's mission. consideration as to how and by what | THE POSITION OF THE CHRISTIAN. means this divine system is to be in the glimpses of the heavenly promulged, we shall proceed to state host given to us, we find there are in the first place
three gradations of rank : the ArchTHE AGENTS.
angel, the messenger of God's will ; When the Christian System was the Seraphim, the angels of love, who first given to the world, its propaga- stand nearest the throne of God, as tors were delighted with the divine being most like the divine mind ; and power to control all the elements of the Cherubim, the angels of knownature, and mould them into witnesses ledge ;—these, in this our world, learn of the truth of their divine mission. the wisdom and love of God, and as They wandered over the earth en- the scroll of Divine Providence is dowed with the delegated power and gradually unrolled, they chant for majesty of God, and showed to man- evermore the solemn anthem, “Great kind the realization of Jacob's dream, and marvellous are thy works Lord the ladder whose ends touched earth God Almighty, just and true are thy and heaven—the way by which the ways thou King of Saints.” But angels could descend to meet man when God wished to create our world, and hail him as a brother, and by he did not delegate his power to the which man himself may ascend to the angels. No, it was a work too lofty presence of his God and Father. to be delegated even to an archangel
But the Apostles, long ages since, -he performed it by his own personal sealed their faith by their blood — action, thereby consecrating labour, they departed to the land “where the and declaring to us that in labour wicked cease from troubling, and the alone lies the true dignity and object weary are at rest”--they now hold of existence. communion with the Prophets who The Christian may now see the have hung their harps on the throne dignity of his own position. When of God, and in the greatness of the God created a world, he gave not the contrast between earth and heaven work to the highest angels, but perfeel how measureless is their recom formed it himself; and in giving him pense.
the work of proclaiming to mankind The work still has to be executed, his commands and love, he has placed and by whom? It can only be per him in a situation higher than the formed by those who have the know- angels, and second only to himself ledge of divine truth, who alone can and our glorified Redeemer. As he claim the high and arduous task ; is, then, the medium by which God and in these latter days, when sin teaches even the heavenly host his and suffering overspread the earth, wisdom, and in which he shows his there is need for a further proclama- Providence, let him prove himself tion of God's system ; and we, who worthy of the high vocation to which glory in being illuminated by the he is called. light of divine truth, by that very de- THE WORK AND CAPABILITIES OF claration show that to us is the glory, THE CHRISTIAN. and on us rests the responsibility of We, then, being the laborers of proclaiming to the world the infinite God, and responsibility resting upon wisdom and love of the Eternal God. each, it is necessary that we should To propagate a system whose author- know our appointed task. “Every ship may be known by the light that man should seek his work, and do it.” The fact of no two minds being women endowed with courage esteemconstituted alike is not a proof of ed the characteristic of men—when our weakness, but of our power; it they beheld the Roman soldier, who shows that our souls are intended | preferred death to dishonour, cheerto form one harmonious and godlike fully submitting to the scourge, a puwhole.
nishment so ignominious as to be forIn the first age, bishops, deacons, bidden to a Roman—when they saw and evangelists were the principal all these things, they felt that the deofficers and laborers mentioned ; but spised Nazarenes had, in trial, a supwe cannot all be rulers, nor can we port which they never experienced, it all wield the sword of the Spirit, so brought a conviction that the Chrisas to render men the prisoners of the tian system was from the Supreme Lordnor have we all that rule over Being. The Heathen endured death, our own souls, that calm judgment but the Christian rejoiced in it. Hisand searching knowledge of the hu- tory tells us that martyrdom was man heart, which are so essential for often followed by the conversion of those who have to bear rule in the the executioners and of many spectachurch of God. But there is one tors. If such were the effect of faith work every man can do, and without and practice in those days, surely we which transcendent talents are utterly who are not tried in the fire of perseuseless. The work is this : we can cution, who are enlightened by the all show to the world by personal ho- full blaze of divine truth, and who liness the transforming influence of have within our reach the accumuthe system we advocate. And here I | lated knowledge and learning of may say, we must take a higher stan- eighteen centuries, surely we can do dard than respectability. It is a as much as they ! standard made by the world for their The Christian can exert a great own convenience. A respectable and national influence, by endeavourman signifies one who is as good as ing to infuse into all legislative enactthe generality of men, but certainly ments and reforms, the spirit of his not any better. If we are only re- own religion. Those who, from misspectable, we can have no predomi- taken views of Christian duty, would nant and lasting influence. Our law debar the disciple of Christ from the giver said we were to live “ soberly, exercise of political influence, would righteously, and godly.” Between this thereby take away the power from standard and that of the world there those the most worthy to exercise it, is some considerable difference. To and the least likely to exert it for this, personal holiness of character, personal aggrandisement and party may be ascribed the astonishing suc- purposes. The 120 provinces of cess of Christianity in the first age. Persia had no reason to regret that It has been said that “ the blood of Daniel held the reins of government. the martyrs is the seed of the church.” It is still more inexpedient to leave But the mere martyrdom did not con- unassailed any unequaland oppressive vince : there had been impostors who laws, for they are the strongholds into endured death calmly, and with resig- which tyranny and priestcraft take nation. It was the attending circum- refuge from the assaults of truth, and stances that invested martyrdom with may be turned into formidable engines such power. When the executioners for the destruction of her votaries. beheld Christians even in the midst | The first work of any general, when of the consuming flames, raising a he has chosen his battle-field, is to song of praise to God, because they remove any obstacles to the free were permitted to testify their faith movement of his forces, and seize by their blood—when they beheld on every means offered to strengthen
hath not revealed it to thee, Peter, upon which the Christian Church but my Father, who is in heaven," was reared. All, then, who make &c. Mr. Campbell, in passing, the same good confession are built showed the total weakness of the upon Jesus Christ, and consequently Roman Catholic superstructure in entitled to a place in the Church of having been built upon a gross gram- God. From this, Mr. Campbell matical absurdity-in supposing that showed, in a clear and striking manthe Church of Christ was built uponner, that the Church of Christ was the flesh, blood, and bones of Peter, not founded upon either the 39 artiinstead of on the noble confession cles of the Church of England, or the which that Apostle made. The lec- 158 folios of the Church of Rome; turer said that he was astonished that for it is not of human reason, but of there could be found a man, with the divine revelation. It is not contained i least spark of common sense or intel- in the articles of Amiens, or upon ligence, who could receive such a the five points of Calvin, or upon any gross and absurd assumption. Mr. number of isolated abstractions of Campbell then went on to explain human opinion, or the metaphysics the reason why Jesus adopted the of all the Doctors of Divinity in the parabolic teaching. Every man, he world; but solely upon Jesus Christ said, had his own idiosyncrasy in himself. “This is the tried rockthe manner of communicating his the sure foundation-stone; and whothoughts to his hearers ; and this, it soever buildeth thereon, shall never would appear, was the peculiar mode be ashamed.” Jesus Christ adopted in teaching his In referring to that part of the disciples. The lecturer, in confir- answer of Jesus, “Fleshi and blood mation of this, referred to a number hath not revealed it unto thee,” &c. of other passages, where his thoughts Mr. Campbell combatted the popular, so accommodated the beauties of ex- but erroneous, idea that was enterternal nature to the purposes of the tained by the theologians of the instruction he was communicating to present day on the subject. It was his disciples.
said that it was the Holy Spirit The lecturer then, in again allud- which revealed this truth to Peter. ing to the confession of Peter, said This, however, was a mistake. The that the whole communicated this Holy Spirit had his work, and Jesus great truth, THAT UPON ONE GRAND Clirist performed his. Jesus Christ CONFESSION CHRIST WOULD BUILD said that it was not the Spirit that HIS CHURCH. There were but three revealed the truth to Peter, but his ideas in this confession; and upon heavenly Father. Mr. Campbell reflection it will be found, said Mr. then showed when and how this was Campbell. that we have only three done, by a reference to the baptism distinct ideas of any man, viz.-1st, and transfiguration of Jesus, when a his person ; 2nd, the office he sus- voice from the excellent glory protains in society; and in the 3rd place, claimed, “ This is my Son, the bethe character which he bears in ful- loved in whom I delight: hear ye filling the duties of his office. The him.” Every man, then, said Mr. same understanding of Jesus Christ C. that believed with Peter, and is what the grand confession of Peter confessed like him, is a fit subject indicated, viz. his person, his office, for baptism, and of the Christian and character that is to say, in his Church, for he has believed in Jesus person he is the son of God; in his Christ as the Son of the living God, office he was the anointed Prophet, and the Saviour of mankind. This, Priest, and King; and in his cha- then, is the only basis upon which racter he was the only foundation ' Christianity is reared-the faith that
saves the soul-the power of God! But here another difficulty presents itand the wisdom of God to every man
self: If the spirits of bad dead men can
communicate information to the living, that believes, and the only foundation
why may not the spirits of good dead men of a glorious immortality.
also make revelations by which living men may be saved: The revelations of
bad spirits leads to condemnation, and OBJECTIONS TO ESSAY ON why not the revelations of good spirits DEMONOLOGY.
lead to justification ?
But I have scattered difficulties enough NO. I.
for one sheet. Suffice it to say, that I am
sceptical in relation to revelations being DEAR BROTHER Campbell-Your essay made by dead men or their spirits. on “ Demonology” has perplexed me
Affectionately yours, M. WINANS. more than any thing ever written by you. This transmigration of spirits, or souls, is
NO. II. a doctrine that I have not sufficiently investigated to become a believer in it. Dear BROTHER CAMPBELL-Your essay You say the habitation of Mary Magdalene on “ Demonology” has set me to examinwas rather her misfortune than her crime. | ing and thinking on the subject. In my Viewing it in this light, you inust, of last I let you know that my mind had course, admit, or rather contend, that the been much perplexed-the difficulty grew bodies of the living may be inhabited by out of your definition of Demons. I the spirits of the dead without the voli dared not directly call in question your tion of the living ; and if so, a kind of definition; and if admitted when I put fatality attaches itself to the idea. If the definition (spirits of dead men) in the those spirits pollute the living, an abstract room of (demons or devils), I was peroperation must of necessity be wrought plexed ; for those spirits of dead men were for their relief, else their fate is sealed. I frequently heard by living men to cry out
It seems to me that necromancy, witch with a loud voice, and say many things craft, &c. &c. were not permitted to enter which were understood by the living; any, without an act of volition on their besides, those possessed were always part; else I cannot see the propriety of known to be so possessed by the people of enacting laws against these things. Law that age: and physical power seems to be without volition appears to me to be use- imparted by those spirits to those whom less, to say the least of it ; and if by an they inhabited-as in the case of the act of volition those spirits are let in, then Gadarene, who excelled Sampson, for he Mary Magdalene was a criminal because could not be bound with chains; and also she broke the law enacted against suffer the case of the Asiatic, who subdued seven ing such spirits taking possession of her. men, stripping and wounding them.
But it seems that the expulsion of de- / Whether those spirits were visible or inmons was classed among the miracles in visible I have not been able clearly to the days of the Lord and his Apostles; make out. The circumstances would seem therefore I conclude that from that time to justify the notion that they were visithe spirits of the dead (if they be demons) ble, as well as audible, in some cases. In have been prohibited from inhabiting the the case of the Gadarene they were countliving, eise miracles are still necessary in ed, and found to be “about two thousand." order to their expulsion.
I infer from your essay that witches, If demons are expelled by the gospel, wizards, and necromancers of all grades then it would be hard to distinguish be were inspired by the spirits of dead men ; tween sins and demons.
and, as a matter of course, those books If evil spirits, or the spirits of evil men used by the heathen world were the revewho have died, become demons, and enter | lations of the spirits of dead men, of which into living men, then I should suppose that there were burnt in Ephesus at one time the spirits of good men may in like man- in value fifty thousand pieces of silver. ner enter into living men; and if the bad | Brother Campbell, did Jannes and spirits make bad men, then the good spirits Jambres work real miracles, as well as make good men. And who knows but Moses, only inferior in their kind? And what the doctrine of personal election candid Simon the sorcerer work real miracles be sustained on this ground? If those in Samaria, before Philip went there? Or spirits enter without the volition of the were the people deceived by Jannes and party, surely the dctrine is true. And Jambres and by Simon how can the Holy Spirit be distinguished I had almost concluded that all the from the spirits of good men who have curious arts of the ancients were mere died, seeing that the same effect is pro- deceptions, by which the people were duced by their inhabitation ?
imposed on, and led to worship nonenities